It's been a good couple of years for the Chevrolet Colorado. Not only did it come out of the gates just three years ago and take a huge bite out of the top-selling Toyota Tacoma's market share, but earlier this year the stocky and stout Colorado ZR2 off-roader took the mid-size segment by storm. In fact, it won our most recent head-to-head contest against the class leader and is selling well. Chevy tells us there's a tight 25-day supply, and 1 of every 10 Colorados sold is a ZR2.
But you don't keep the momentum going by standing still. That's why Chevy engineers, along with the famous Hall Racing team, have created specialty parts to improve the performance of an already top-notch off-roader. All that research and development was thrust into the spotlight at the 2017 Specialty Equipment Market Association Show in Las Vegas in the form of the ZR2 AEV concept.
Those familiar with the growing overlanding industry have heard of American Expedition Vehicles, a growing company based in Wixom, Mich. AEV upfits Jeep Wranglers and Ram pickups with some of the strongest, most well-engineered aftermarket components around; they are designed to make those vehicles more capable and ready to explore.
The most important parts of this ZR2 concept are underneath: There are a pair of long-travel, re-arched leaf springs; longer front coils; front and rear high-impact jounce shocks; bigger tires; stronger front half-shafts; high-angle ball joints; stiffer tie-rods; retuned Multimatic DSSV shocks; and a special anti-wrap link arm attached to the rear differential.
Each of these parts were created with the idea of making them available to regular ZR2 customers in the future, just in case they want to upgrade their pickup's performance. This is a strategy that's worked well with Chevy Camaro and Corvette customers, who appreciate having additional performance options.
Among some of the more interesting AEV-installed parts on this race-ready ZR2 (equipped with all the suspension upgrades mentioned above) are Jeep Wrangler-style front and rear bumpers with LED lighting, complete underbody skid plating, a high-intake snorkel, fender cutouts and flares, 35-inch tires, custom Dual Sport wheels, a custom utility rack, NATO-style fuel cans, an ARB 12-volt refrigerator/freezer and a Hi-Lift jack. Our favorite feature on this concept vehicle is a unique safety panel that includes controls for electrical charging, water tanks, campsite lighting and compressed air.
Although the Colorado ZR2 AEV is a concept, we like the potential it presents for possible accessories for regular and ZR2 Colorados. If there's one thing we know about off-road enthusiasts, it's that they like to know they can go even farther with just a few modifications.
Let the folks at GM know what you think about this concept in the comments section below.